You present yourself to the world—alone mostly, occasionally with “Friends.” The screen captures an instant for people whom you know, half-know, or may have never seen. It tells them all they need to know about that moment—things like “@ Lush Life bar” or “Feelin’ bummed” or “with J.K. & Jenny.” Sometimes, a smiley face [(], sad face [(], or thumbs-up [(Y)] accompanies the image—because, as a general rule, it’s good to let people know whether you’re happy, sad, or satisfied.
And then the fun begins.
You wait to see how many “Likes” you get, who shares your picture, who tells you how good you look, how funny you are, or how they wish they were with you now. If anyone disrespects you, you diss them back, ignore them, or—better yet—“Unfriend” them. They must be losers anyway. And if—by some freak chance of technology—the unassembled crowd seems to miss the moment, you grit your teeth, shake your head, and wonder aloud, “What were these people doing?!” And then—to their almost certain chagrin—you post something even better. ;-)
But you don’t need to worry about stuff like that now.
No need to be negative.
Today’s a good day.
Today, you got up early, worked out, showered—and now you’re ready. You take your phone and hold it—at arm’s length—slightly above your head. You turn your neck to hide that blotch on your left cheek. You smile and, as you see the image on the screen, you realize it won’t do. Something isn’t right.
You grab the extendable stick from your dresser so you can capture a little more of yourself. Why else did I work out today? you think. As your phone hovers a few feet in front of you, you tilt your shoulders, flash your best profile, and push out your chest.
But you pause.
Even with the selfie stick, they won’t see the whole you.
And today you look good.
So, you stand next to your bed, far enough from the dresser mirror that you can see the fullness of yourself—from head to toe. You press the phone close to your body. Standing erect, jaw firm, buttocks tight, you take your shot.
Voila! There’ll be no haters today!
Admiring your photogeneity, you tap the screen several times. You write “Ready for the world!” and press “Post.” This’ll get some traffic! you think, looking once more at the image. Then, with a calm heart and clear mind, you lie back on your bed with your hands interlaced behind your head.
And you wait…
Lewis J. Beilman III lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with his family and two cats. His stories have appeared in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, ArLiJo, Reed Magazine, and other literary publications. In 2009, he won first prize in the Fred R. Shaw Poetry Contest.